According to their website, Storehouse for iPad claims to be, “The easiest way to create, share and discover beautiful stories.” I have to say, not only are the stories beautiful…, so is the app itself – but I guess when Apple’s former user experience evangelist and UI designer is involved, that’s to be expected.
Browsing through stories on the iPad is a pleasure, as the still – or moving – cover images go drifting by. Tapping on the cover image reveals the rest of the story, with images, text and video all arranged in a clean, grid-based layout reminiscent of Medium’s website. Pinch to close and return to the home screen.
Designing a story with the app is very intuitive. Images and clips can be imported from the iPad’s camera roll or services like Dropbox and Instagram. From there, everything is pretty much drag-and-drop simple. The app lets you adjust the cropping, size and arrangement of each component with controls that are accessed by tapping on an image, or by adding an element from the top menu bar.
You’re limited to just three font styles, but I think that’s a good thing as too many options will only slow you down and could lead to poor design choices. Everything is currently set up so you can build great looking pages quickly and easily; it gets a lot of the design decisions out of the way so you can focus on the story.
I took the app for a test drive using some photos and videos I shot on a recent Duckpin Bowling outing with my wife and daughter. I shot all the pictures with an iPhone 5 using the Camera Awesome app, did some post-processing in VSCOcam, then uploaded them to my Dropbox account before bringing them into Storehouse. There’s currently no way to edit the in-and-out points of your videos within the app, so I recommend doing that before you import them.
I would also like to see the addition of a tray to hold thumbnails of your imported photos so you can drag them into and out of your layout without having to re-import them each time you delete them. I also think the developers need to give the reader a way to control the playback of video clips; at the very least a stop/play button. Currently, video clips just keep looping over and over again, which I found irritating (at least in my own story).
I could totally see using Storehouse as a way to present cooking recipes. As opposed to a straight-up video where someone’s talking to the camera the entire time, the recipe’s text could be presented alongside some beautiful food photography and short video clips showing different techniques used in the process. Really excited to see if I can incorporate this app into some of my project ideas.